Cam Newton Issues Apology Video Over "Degrading" Comment to Female Reporter

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Cam Newton

"If you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you."

Cam Newton issued an apology Thursday night after finding himself in the headlines for a comment he made to a female reporter during a news conference earlier in the week.

"After careful thought, I understand that my word choice was extremely degrading and disrespectful to women," the Carolina Panthers quarterback said in a video posted to Twitter. "To be honest, that was not my intentions. And if you are a person who took offense to what I said, I sincerely apologize to you."

The quarterback was asked by Charlotte Observer reporter Jourdan Rodrigue during a Wednesday news conference about wide receiver Devin Funchess' route running. The former league MVP laughed and said, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes."

In the nearly two-minute video posted to his Twitter account, Newton said he aims to be a positive role model, including for his two daughters, and to use his platform to inspire others. "I take ownership to everything that comes with that," he said," And what I did was extremely unacceptable."  

He continued, "The fact that during this whole process I've already lost sponsors and countless fans, I realize that the joke is really on me. I've learned a valuable lesson from this." Newton is a spokesman for Dannon and the maker of Oikos yogurt cut ties with player on Thursday, saying the company was "shocked and disheartened" at his behavior and comments.

Speaking directly to reporters, journalists and women around the world, he said, "I sincerely apologize and hope you can find the kindness in your heart to forgive me."

The NFL released a statement on Wednesday saying Newton's response was "just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league." 

Rodrigue issued a statement Wednesday night, saying Newton hadn't yet apologized for his remarks. The Associated Press reported that he was "sitting at his locker Thursday on his phone, but declined comment through the team's public relations staff."

Still, it doesn't appear there will be any punishment for Newton from the NFL. Spokesman Joe Lockhart said in a conference call Thursday, "I think there are conversations going on at the club level with the appropriate people, with the Panthers. I don't want to anticipate the league stepping in there."

On Thursday night, several late-night TV hosts took on Newton. Referencing how Dannon dropped the player, Stephen Colbert brought the moment full circle on Late Show: "It was funny to see a male talk about yogurt.” On the Daily Show, host Trevor Noah set his sights on the NFL. “At this point, with so many scandals, the NFL is probably like, ‘Can we get back to concussions?'” he said. “On the bright side, if this is the worst thing an NFL player did to a woman this week, then we’re making progress."